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Washington Square Chess Exhibition returns with Int’l Master Farai Mandizha

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | The Washington Square Chess Exhibition skipped its fall event, but it’s coming back with a spring installment on Sat., May 18.

Sponsored by the Washington Square Association — New York’s oldest neighborhood and civic organization — the afternoon will be an immersion in chess strategy.

Things will kick off at noon in the park’s chess plaza with a lecture by International Master Farai Mandizha.

Then at 1 p.m., the simultaneous chess exhibition a.k.a. “the simul” will commence, during which Mandizha will play 23 players at once, going from chessboard to chessboard, ending when only one player remains.

At the inaugural Washington Square chess simul in November 2021, Maxim Dlugy, left, contemplated the board against Surfi, who took the grand master to 60 moves before losing. Dlugy later offered Surfi a job as a teacher at his Upper West Side chess academy. (Photo by The Village Sun)

The event is free to the public. All ages are welcome to participate in the simul, and five spots will be reserved for players 12 and under. IM Mandizha will donate a free lesson to anyone who plays him to a draw, and two lessons if checkmated.

Now based in the United States, IM Mandizha was born and raised in Zimbabwe and is the number one-ranked active player from that country. Coaching players began early on for Mandizha, who captained the famed Prince Edward School chess team to an undefeated season. After graduating, he would travel to multiple countries to earn FIDE (Fédération Internationale des Échecs) titles.

At the simul in November 2022, Laura Montanari, originally from Italy, a top player in her age bracket, conceded a hard-fought match to Grand Master John Fedorowicz. (Photo by The Village Sun)

An inspirational chess coach known for his unique tactical playing style, Mandizha believes the essence of chess is that it is constantly changing. So rather than asking students to strictly memorize, his focus is on how to help them think through various positions.

Coach Farai has been invited to and played in every Chess Olympiad since 2012, and serves as a Hunter College Campus Schools chess coach.

The chess simul’s rain date is Sun., May 19.

To RSVP to play an international master, click here.

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